Now that Keenan Lewis is set to be the New Orleans Saints‘ number one cornerback in 2014, he could be well on his way to big things. The Black and Gold are aiming to have the top secondary in the NFL this season. That will be a tough task to pull off, but it can be done, and Lewis looks to lead them there.
The New Orleans native was signed by the Saints as a free agent in 2013 after the team brought in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Lewis returned home to the Big Easy after playing for Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first four years of his career.
He did not become a starter until his fourth season in the Steel City, but when he did, he shined. Lewis totaled 71 tackles, an interception and 23 passes defended, which was good for second in the NFL behind Seattle Seahawks‘ Richard Sherman.
Still, after a great year with Pittsburgh, nobody knew too much about the former Oregon State Beaver, but that didn’t stop Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis from pursuing the impressive defensive back. Whether it is the NFL draft or free agency, Payton and Loomis are both superb at finding steals and bargains. Their magic led to a five-year agreement with Lewis worth $26.3 million — a great deal for his potential.
Well, he had a big year with his new team in 2013, tallying 47 combined tackles, nine passes defended, a forced fumble and a team-leading four interceptions. The only reason his tackle numbers and passes defended dropped is because quarterbacks would rarely throw his way. He stuck to opposing receivers like glue, which is one of the reasons why the Saints finished with the No. 4 overall defense.
Lewis has just about everything you want from a defensive back. The 6-foot-1 corner is aggressive off the line of scrimmage, an animal in press coverage and has the intelligence to operate in the zone as well. His quickness and change of direction grants him the ability to compete with some of the league’s top wide receivers.
The kid screams shutdown potential. A secondary that’s going to consist of him, Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro, Champ Bailey and some other talented individuals should be exciting to witness this season. Keep an eye on Keenan Lewis; he could be making great strides for the New Orleans Saints in 2014.